Top 12 Toys for the Holidays

It’s no secret that my kids and I love KidsCompany. Whenever we go to Quezon City, we try our best to drop by their HQ at the RGI Corporate Center, #34 Scout Torillo St. Corner Sct. Limbaga, Brgy Sacred Heart, Quezon City.

You see, hubby and I look at purchasing toys as making an investment: we look for authentic, quality brands that last a long time — and try to get them at a discount. Many times we wait until they go on sale, so we can get toys at 50% off — which makes us all happy. At the same time, my kids learn that “all good things come to those who wait.”

This has served us well, because many (if not all) of the toys that we bought for our firstborn 10 years ago (like Megabloks, Lego, Barbie™, Hot Wheels, etc.) — still look great and are now being enjoyed by his younger siblings who came 7 years after he was born. That’s a huge ROI, if you ask me.

So when they asked me to make a Top 12 Toys list (based on sales and interest/queries generated from their customers), I could only say yes! Here’s what we put together for all of you who are still looking for gifts for their little ones this Christmas, and beyond. [This was published on The Philippine Star last Dec. 9, 2018. Thank you, KidsCompany!]


#ThankSeries: A Wall of Strength

Confession: I started writing this piece last March 5, so I could post it on March 13, which is a special day because it marks the birth of a special sister of mine. But life and my poor health got in the way. Today I told myself, I have to post this because I may no longer be able to do so, if I postpone it any longer. Time is such a precious commodity in Life, and if there’s one thing I learned this year it would be this: When you feel like giving tribute and thanks to people you love, do it ASAP. Some people say Carpe Diem, but I say #SeizeTheTimeNow, because you never know when it could be your last.

Psalm 90:12 says it best: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” This is why I decided to write a series of tributes and thankful notes to people who have helped shape who I am today. I’m starting it with one of my favorite women (because ladies first), someone I have looked up to, literally — since we were kids. Growing up, she was almost always the tallest in our class, maybe even the whole school (at least from my viewpoint). A gentle giant, and a natural leader.

Continue reading “#ThankSeries: A Wall of Strength”

“May Awa ang Diyos.”

I heard my Lola Estrella Rustia say this a lot when I was a young girl. Pagkatapos magmano, I would greet her, “Kumusta po Mamang?” (How are you Mamang?) And she would always answer, “May awa ang Diyos… (God has mercy…)” Her look and tone was thankful and hopeful at the same time. This morning I woke up missing her, and the way her small feet shuffled as she walked around her home in Santiago City.

As a first grade teacher, this “statement of belief” is one of the many lessons that Mamang would pass on to us: Everything that happens to us, comes from God’s mercy. Having this mindset teaches us to be grateful for every moment, be it a time of joy or a time of sorrow. We live each day by God’s grace alone. And because we are recipients of His mercy and grace, we ought to have compassion, to be merciful and gracious to others. There is no room for conceit in a heart that is always grateful for God’s mercy that is new every morning.

It is also a source of comfort during times of despair and hardship. May awa ang Diyos, therefore have confidence in God’s merciful nature – and you will soon see deliverance. There is no room for defeatism, in a heart that has hope and faith in God’s mercy that never fails.



To the Young Women of Malolos

My grandfather, Honesto Rustia Sr., translated this inspiring letter by Jose Rizal to the young women of Malolos into Ilocano. I was a young girl when I saw the published booklet in my Mom’s files, but after Mom died I lost track of it. Recently, I have been looking for a copy of his translation. The words of Rizal are stirring, especially today. The friars were the ones who had “power” at the time this letter was written.

Continue reading “To the Young Women of Malolos”

Everyday is a gift.

On August 18, 2012 (five years ago as of this writing), we received one of the saddest news: Capt. Jessup Bahinting was in a plane crash with his Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand, and two passengers: Sec. Jesse Robredo and his aide. At that time I only knew of Sec. Robredo as the DILG Secretary, a former mayor of Naga City who was loved by his people. I was more affected by the news about Tito Jessup crashing, and couldn’t believe that our hero pilot / pastor was really gone. He had flown a lot more dangerous flights before, and had even flown through a typhoon to deliver anti-venom medicine that saved the life of a young man in Cebu who got bitten by a cobra. He had to be alive!

Alas, three bodies were found three days later, Aug. 21. We were at the Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the West Philippine Sea held in Makati, and I remember we had a moment of silence to honor Sec. Jesse, Capt. Jessup and his co-pilot. These men were husbands, fathers and brothers to their loved ones, and to many others (myself included) whose lives were blessed by their friendship. Continue reading “Everyday is a gift.”

Perla’s Miracles

She looked peaceful, but unnatural. I wasn’t used to seeing her so still. I snuggled up to breathe in her comforting scent, and rubbed her arms with a prayer for her life force to return. It felt so unreal. Up until that point, I had lived a somewhat “sheltered” life, and Mom’s nurturing love was like an enormous bubblewrap that shielded me from the outside world. Six months pregnant, I was looking forward to giving birth to my firstborn with Mom beside me. I wasn’t ready to let her go just yet. I read somewhere that some comatose patients can still hear even if they can’t respond. Selfishly, I whispered to her: “Mom, you promised you’d be there when I give birth. Please be there. I need you.”  Continue reading “Perla’s Miracles”

The frequency of natural healing


Confession: I have never really been a “watch” person. As a teen, if I needed to know what time it was, I’d look at a wall clock or my mobile phone. I thought watches were an accessory one wears in order to impress others, so I didn’t think about owning one back then.

But in 2015, I learned about Philip Stein’s Natural Frequency Technology, and how it could help someone like me with CHD. So, after working hard to get a basic one (thanks to the folks at L-Timestudio and their 50% discount) — I thought I’d try it. After almost two years, I’m finally sharing my personal experience (not a scientific study) with Philip Stein’s NFT. Continue reading “The frequency of natural healing”